My Journey/Week 4

Last week I underwent a lumpectomy leaving me scarred and in pain. Just one more scar to add to my life-collection of scars.

I have acquired a lot of scars in my lifetime; as I’m sure most of you have. Some are a result of bringing life into the world and some to save my own life. Others are a result of repairing damaged body parts. And still, others are scars on my heart, emotions, and memory that only God can see.

Do you sometimes hear a song and think to yourself, “Wow! This really speaks to me and my current situation.” In this case, the song I am referring to is Scars, by I Am They.

One chorus goes like this: So I’m thankful for the scars – ‘Cause without them I wouldn’t know Your heart – And I know they’ll always tell of who You are – So forever I am thankful for the scars

It’s uncommon to be thankful for scars. They aren’t exactly a pretty sight. Being thankful for scars goes against all human logic. Plus, there is pain associated with scars. No one wants to be reminded of the pain.

Each seen or unseen scar is evidence that we have lived. The pain and scars are part of life. They come with the territory.

Hardships in this life will do one of two things; draw us closer to God or further away from Him.

I have learned from personal experience that when I view my painful circumstances and scars from a godly perspective my faith, joy, and character grows and I become a better person.

But when I blame God and become angry with Him for allowing the circumstances that result in pain; I become bitter and turn away from Him.

During difficult times, we have to remember that God is sovereign and that He knows what He is doing. He knows the end from the beginning. And He sees the positive results of our pain that we cannot yet see (Isaiah 46:10).

God allows our pain and suffering as an opportunity for us to run to Him, to know Him better, and to trust Him more. In reality, He is the only one that can help us get through it and make us better on the other side of it.

We can become better instead of bitter.

James 1:2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Though it’s hard to do, we can remain joyful as we look forward to the spiritual growth and maturity that results from pain and suffering.

It’s not if we suffer. We will all suffer in this life. But it’s about how we suffer that counts. That’s what makes all the difference in becoming better or bitter.

Back to the song I mentioned earlier. There is another chorus that goes like this: I’m thankful for Your scars – ‘Cause without them I wouldn’t know Your heart – And with my life, I’ll tell of who You are – So forever I am thankful

We will never know the suffering Jesus suffered. He still bears the scars of His suffering. He endured the pain of the scourging and the cross in our place. He did it all so we can be in relationship with Him for eternity.

Hebrews 12:2 Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer, and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Jesus’ scars are a reminder of His love for us and the relationship He desires with us. Those scars reveal His heart for His Father and for us. And the only way we can say thank you for all that He has done for us is to live a life that glorifies Him.

When we embrace the pain and suffering God has allowed in our lives with a good attitude we are living a life of gratitude that glorifies Him and points others to Him.

Do you have scars that remind you of your suffering and pain? Have you allowed those scars to make you better or bitter? Do you blame God for your pain or do you run to Him for the help and the comfort that He alone provides in the midst of pain?

Will you allow your scars to be exposed in order to help others, encourage others, and glorify God?

Don’t allow your pain and scars to stay hidden. Put them in the Lord’s hands and watch Him do amazing things with them.

Isaiah 61:3 God will provide for those who grieve-to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.

~Patrice Maguire

Prayer for salvation: Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Journey/Week 2

Sometimes I like to go through Pinterest to read scriptures and then turn them into prayers. Does anyone else do that? Is that weird?

Maybe that isn’t holy enough for some people but there are some really great scriptures on Pinterest! God’s word is God’s word no matter where it’s found.

I love to pray scripture. I feel as though one can never go wrong when they pray God’s word.

Isaiah 55:11 So is my word that goes out from my mouth; it will not return to Me empty but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

As I scrolled through Pinterest, the scriptures that stood out to me the most were 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

If you have been following my blog, you know that I found out 2 weeks ago that I have breast cancer. So as I was reading and praying these particular scriptures, I began focusing on the words always, continually, and all.

My prayer went something like this: Lord, help me to always rejoice, to continually be in prayer, and to be thankful in all circumstances. That really got me thinking as I prayed. It went to the very core of me. It made me take inventory of myself.

Under the unpleasant circumstances of breast cancer, am I rejoicing always? Am I praying continually? Am I giving thanks in this circumstance?

This week has been really hard for me. Not only am I still waiting on the results of my bloodwork, before I can make a decision about treatment, but I’ve also had to meet with the breast reconstruction surgeon and the radiation oncologist to get information in order to make a more informed decision concerning treatment.

Nothing hits you in the face with breast cancer reality more than meeting with these two doctors.

So, getting back to my scriptures, as a result of my current circumstance, I can definitely say I am praying continually. I usually talk to the Lord throughout the day anyway, so that hasn’t really changed. But what I talk to Him about has changed as new challenges arise.

I’ve always asked the Lord to help me several times a day throughout the day. Those “Lord, help me” prayers have definitely increased.

What I am struggling with these days is the rejoicing always and giving thanks in all circumstances. Those two go completely against logic and human nature when it comes to a health crisis or any crisis for that matter.

“Lord, do you really expect me to rejoice right now? Do you really expect me to be thankful right now? Seriously?”

His answer is in verse 18; It’s His will for me in Christ Jesus. And it’s His will for you in Christ Jesus.

He didn’t put a stipulation on rejoicing, praying and thankfulness. He didn’t say it is His will for us to do these three things unless we have some sort of life-altering crisis. No! He said rejoice always, pray continually, and be thankful in all circumstances.

Why are these 3 things God’s will for me? For you? Rejoicing, praying, and gratitude is not for God’s good. They are for our good.

It’s as if God is giving us a prescription for what ails us. He is our good Father and He always knows what’s best for His children.

Why should we rejoice always?

Nehemiah 8:10b says that the joy of the Lord is our strength. Proverbs 17:22 says that a cheerful heart is a good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

I don’t know about you, but I sure could use plenty of God’s strength while going through this crisis. And a cheerful heart sounds a whole lot better than dried up bones any day.

Why should we pray continually?

When I am confused and struggling, it always helps me to talk to someone. If I’m going to talk to someone, I might as well talk to the One in control and who has the power to change things.

Prayer is just talking to God. I am so thankful that I can approach the all-powerful Creator of all things, my Father, without fear and talk to Him about anything.

Hebrews 4:16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Why should we give thanks in all circumstances?

Being thankful makes us happy. It replaces sadness and self-pity with joy. It takes us back to “rejoice always.” It is hard to be sad and discouraged when we are being thankful.

Romans 1:21 tells us what happens to those who are not thankful. “For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” Yikes!

Last week I stated in my blog, that I may not understand why or how I have breast cancer, but I am determined, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to trust God and to submit to His will for me.

According to 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, God’s will for me is to rejoice always, to pray continually, and to be thankful in all circumstances. And by the power of the Holy Spirit, I will submit to His will for me.

Will you do the same? What are you going through today? Have you recently received a devastating life-altering diagnosis? Are you going through any sort of crisis? Do you know someone who is?

Will you submit to God’s will for you today? Will you commit to, through the power of the Holy Spirit, rejoice always, pray continually, and be thankful despite your circumstances?

I’m not saying it will be easy. It’s not easy for me. But it’s God’s prescription for what ails us. We just need to be good little children and take our medicine. It’s for our good and His glory!

~Patrice Maguire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Something to be Thankful For

The question that seems to be on everyone’s lips this week is, “What are you most thankful for this year?” I guess its time to start making our “Things to be thankful for” list.

Your list could be a written list but, if you are anything like me, it’s more likely to be a mental one. Or perhaps you feel as though you have little to nothing to be thankful for this year. Hopefully, by the end of this blog, you will either be adding to your list or starting one.

There is a popular song out right now called “Known” by Tauren Wells. It’s a beautiful song. If you get the opportunity to listen to it, pay close attention to the words. There is one particular phrase in the song that really gets me thinking, “I’m fully known and loved by You.”

What does it mean to be fully known? My dictionary app is one of my best writing friends. Some synonyms I found to replace the word fully are: completely, entirely, perfectly, thoroughly, through and through, totally and wholly.

How about the word known? The meaning of the word known is to come to a knowledge of.

I would venture to say that there is not a single person in this world that fully knows you or me. They might think they know us but in reality, people only know about us what we allow them to know.

To fully know, a person would have to know everything about us: everything we have ever done, every word we have ever spoken, every thought we have ever thought and even every motive or intention of our heart. Now, that is completely knowing someone.

Oh, and what are the chances of finding a person that not only knows us through and through but loves us regardless? I’m talking about the kind of love that doesn’t criticize or judge. The kind of love that never changes toward us no matter what we have done, are doing or will do.

The kind of love that knows us completely and remains kind, gentle, understanding and patient with us. The kind of love that never thinks less of us.

That is almost impossible to find in this world. I would venture to say that the closest we would come to finding that kind of love may be the love a parent has for their child.

Isn’t that what we all want? To be completely known and completely loved simultaneously. I do! We all do!

There are things that I could tell you about my past or things that I struggle with today, in my heart, that would cause you to think of me differently or speak of me differently. It would be humanly impossible not to. As a matter of fact, you may not even treat me the same way.

There is only One who will ever entirely, through and through, know us and still love us entirely, through and through. That’s God; our Heavenly Father!

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

It’s impossible for God to not love us. Love is who He is [1 John 4:8].

He knows us completely because He created us.

Psalm 139:13 For you created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb.

Psalm 139:1 You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.

Not only does God fully know us and fully love us but He also fully understands us. Wow!

There is actually someone that understands why we do what we do and why we say what we say? He even understands what we meant to say when the words just came out wrong or were misinterpreted. He understands our intentions. Now that’s huge!

How often are we misunderstood weekly or even daily? It hurts to be misunderstood. And it usually makes things worse when we try to explain ourselves. I’ve kind of given up on the explaining part. At this point in my life, my thinking is, “God understands and that’s all that matters.”

In my experience, most people don’t really want to understand. They only want to make their point. And that’s ok because God understands them too. That takes us back to being fully known and loved by God. Now we have come full circle!

Hebrews 2:17, 4:15 For this reason, He (Jesus) had to be made like them, fully human in every way, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that He might make atonement for the sins of the people. For we do not have a high priest (Jesus) who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet He did not sin.

There is someone who knows you perfectly, loves you perfectly and understands you perfectly. He is the Creator of heaven, earth, and you. Now that’s something to be thankful for!

Nehemiah 9:6 You alone are the Lord. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship You.

~Patrice Maguire

If you would like to accept Christ as your savior pray the following prayer:                   Dear God, I know I’m a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Attitude of Gratitude

Let’s be honest! There are things that we have to do in life that we really just don’t like to do or don’t want to do for that matter. A lot of those things are things that we have to do because other people are depending on us. We do them but we might be complaining the whole time or thinking and saying, “I’ll be glad when this is over.”

Let’s take dusting for example. I dislike dusting very much. I confess that it is my least favorite chore. However, I’ve found a way to make it a little more enjoyable.

Instead of complaining about having to dust or having a bad attitude while dusting, I’ve started thanking God that I have a house and things in my house that need to be dusted. Wow! What a change that has made. I’m amazed at how just a little gratitude has transformed my attitude.

What are some things that you dislike doing? Do you hate mowing the lawn? Thank God you have a lawn to mow. Do you hate your job? Thank God you have a job that pays the bills and puts food on the table. Do you hate cooking? Thank God you have food to cook. Do you hate grocery shopping? Thank God you have money to buy groceries. See how that works?

God has plenty to say about being grateful and thankful. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says we should give thanks in all circumstances. I’m guessing that household chores, jobs, mowing the lawn, cooking and grocery shopping would all fall into the category of “all circumstances.”

Psalm 107:1 says to give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. So that house we have to clean, that lawn we have to mow, that food we have to cook and that money we have to buy groceries are all a result of God’s goodness and love. I don’t know about you but I’m feeling more grateful already.

And Psalm 147:7 says to sing to the Lord with grateful praise. Singing while we work? Or how about whistling while we work (haha thinking about that cute song in Snow White). Now that will change your attitude for sure! And it’s likely to rub off on everyone else around you.

Imagine the conversations you could start with people if you were joyful while you were working. Imagine the glory it could bring to God if when they ask, “Why are you so happy?” And you tell them that you are joyful because you are thankful for all that God has provided for you.

Wow! It just goes to show that a little gratitude can go a long way. Even further than you might think.

~Patrice Maguire